The New York Rangers are pressing the Washington Capitals hard to push this series to seven games, and Chris Kreider has figured into much of their success.
Kreider scored the tying goal with less than two minutes left in Game 5, and he was on the ice during the overtime-winner. He truly combined will and skill just 40 seconds into Game 6, as he took advantage of some open space and flat-out overpowered Matt Niskanen:
He’s not just scoring, either, as his physical style is rubbing some the wrong way. He raised Washington’s ire with a questionable hit on young forward Andre Burakovsky.
Update: Scoring 40 seconds into the first period is one thing, but what about making it 2-0 with .3 seconds remaining in the opening frame? Kreider did both, giving the Rangers what could be an enormous lead (at least considering how these two goalies are playing).
This indeed must have felt like a heart-breaker for the Capitals:
Interesting tidbit: the Rangers have had a knack for timely scoring lately:
The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are piling on scoring chances in Game 6, but only Chris Kreider found the net so far.
As well as Braden Holtby is performing, it seems to be advantage: Henrik Lundqvist early on. He turned some heads by making an impressive string of three successive saves, including showing a little bit of ingenuity against Troy Brouwer:
Yep, that’s impressive. Again, Holtby’s been great too, but so far “The King” is showing why he draws such royal praise.
The New York Rangers are making some defensive pairing swaps in lieu of Game 6 against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
Chalk it up to matchups or any other factors, but Marc Staal has been reunited with Kevin Klein while Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle will make up one of the most expensive third defensive pairings in recent memory, as ESPN’s Katie Strang points out.
The Rangers’ top duo remains Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi.
Interesting to see this change with New York’s last win in mind, but the Capitals get the last change at home, so it makes some sense. The Rangers have been tough to eliminate while the Caps have had trouble putting opponents away in recent postseasons, so this could be an interesting night.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Rangers at Capitals, 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Rangers will once again look to avoid elimination tonight as their series with the Washington Capitals shifts to the Verizon Center for Game 6. The series has been a showcase of outstanding goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby have stopped a combined 296 of 311 shots through five games for a .952 save percentage. New York has now played in an NHL-record 12 straight one-goal playoff games. The Caps have been eliminated by the Rangers in seven games in each of their last two playoff appearances. Washington is 7-2 against New York at home in the playoffs since 2012.
Flames at Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 the Anaheim Ducks have not made it past the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Ducks have a chance to close out their second round series with the Calgary Flames in Game 5 tonight at the Honda Center. The Flames are looking to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2004 when they came one win shy of capturing the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. Calgary will be in tough tonight – the Flames have lost 21 straight at the Honda Center since a win on April 25, 2006. The Ducks won Games 1 and 2 in Anaheim by a combined 9-1 margin. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom have the call of Game 5.
The New York Rangers are fighting to stay alive in their second round series against the Capitals. Each game has been decided by just one goal so while Washington has a 3-2 series lead, that Capitals’ edge might not exist if Mats Zuccarello was healthy.
Zuccarello hasn’t played in the second round due to a concussion and if New York is going to get past Washington it will likely have to be without his services. The 27-year-old forward did travel with the Rangers to Washington though and while his return isn’t imminent, he is making progress, per the Bergen Record.
“He’s an upbeat person and we’d like him to be on the ice, he can’t be there right now to help us out, hopefully he’ll be there soon,” coach Alain Vigneault said.
In the meantime, Zuccarello is keeping in contact with his teammates and attended Game 5, which has been good for the Rangers’ morale.
“I think it’s great,” Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. “It creates a little bump here. It’s good to see his face around and he’s always laughing and telling jokes and keeping it light. We’ve seen him a couple of times before that but it’s good to see him out and feeling good and out and about with the team.”